Journal Article

A framework for selecting a suite of indicators for fisheries management

Jake C. Rice and Marie-Joëlle Rochet

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 516-527
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
A framework for selecting a suite of indicators for fisheries management

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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We develop a framework for the objective selection of a suite of indicators for use in fisheries management. The framework encompasses eight steps, and provides guidance on pitfalls to be avoided at each step. Step 1 identifies user groups and their needs, featuring the setting of operational objectives, and Step 2 identifies a corresponding list of candidate indicators. Step 3 assigns weights to nine screening criteria for the candidate indicators: concreteness, theoretical basis, public awareness, cost, measurement, historic data, sensitivity, responsiveness, and specificity. Step 4 scores the indicators against the criteria, and Step 5 summarizes the results. Steps 3–5 offer technical aspects on which guidance is provided, including scoring standards for criteria and a generalized method for applying the standards when scoring individual indicators. Multi-criterion summarization methods are recommended for most applications. Steps 6 and 7 are concerned with deciding how many indicators are needed, and making the final selection of complementary suites of indicators. Ordinarily, these steps are done interactively with the users of the indicators, thus providing guidance on process rather than technical approach. Step 8 is the clear presentation to all users of the information contained. The discussion also includes the special case in which indicators are used in formal decision rules.

Keywords: criteria; ecosystem; framework; guidelines; indicators; objectives; scoring

Journal Article.  7787 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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